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Black Cherry has been crowned the best tasting tomato
in Australia

Black Cherry was crowned the best tasting heirloom tomato in Australia on March 1 by a panel of gardening superstars and food experts at Heronswood House and Gardens, the home of the Diggers Foundation on the Mornington Peninsula.

The well known heirloom variety - Black Cherry - was a stand out for the official taste test panel who were brought together to taste and rate the best heirloom tomatoes in celebration of the 30th anniversary of the first Diggers Great Tomato Taste Test.

Blayne Bertoncello from O.MY Restaurant (Good Food Guide Best Restaurant of the Year 2024) joined this year's official taste test panel, alongside gardening royalty Jane Edmanson and Costa Georgiadis, acclaimed organic gardener Phil Dudman, author of Preserving the Italian Way Pietro Demaio, VicHealth CEO Sandro Demaio, and three of the participants in the very first Diggers tomato taste test in 1993 - garden writer Peter de Waart and co-founders of the Diggers Club and Foundation Penny Blazey and Clive Blazey.

Diggers Club and Foundation CEO Tim Sansom said that over 65 heirloom tomato varieties had been grown in preparation for the event, before the top varieties in three categories (beefsteak and saucing, cherry, and salad) were selected for the panel to taste and rate.

"The panel have rated heirloom varieties of tomatoes for their taste, texture and appearance. It's been great to see some of our tried and trusted varieties come through as clear favourites," Mr Sansom said.

"The best tasting tomatoes are often the smallest and Black Cherry was a standout in the Cherry Tomato category. They are highly productive, easy to grow and work in salads, lunch boxes and as garden snacks straight from the vine in gardens around Australia.

"Sweet Casady was the winner of the Salad Tomato category - a mid-sized fruit that boasts the same sweetness of a cherry tomato. A new addition to our range and a discovery from our seed vault, we knew this tomato was something special.

"Nonna Peppina's was the winner of our Beefsteak and Saucing Tomato category. Beefsteaks are the large meaty tomatoes that can be sliced or used in sauces, while the saucing tomatoes offer more flesh and less seeds - which makes them incredibly versatile for cooking."

Mr Sansom said that the celebration was as much about preserving the diversity of tomatoes as it was about crowning a winner.

''These heirloom varieties represent an important cultural heritage that we're in danger of losing if we allow supermarket hybrids to totally take over," Mr Sansom said.

"Everyone can play a role in preserving open-pollinated, heirloom seed varieties of vegetables, just by making more informed decisions about the seed we decide to plant in our gardens. It's one of the ways we can keep control of what we grow and serve up on our plates - so those decisions remain in the hands of gardeners and not large corporations.

"The Diggers Foundation is preserving biocultural treasures like heirloom seeds to ensure they don't disappear. By growing and saving seed of these precious heirlooms we can make sure that they will be accessible to future generations."

Celebrating 30 years 

Circle back here to find out who will be crowned the winner

2024 Tomato Heirloom Winner

Black Cherry

Aptly named for their dark juicy sweet fruit, which resemble cherries, this American heirloom offers a flavour profile like no other. Whilst still firm, the fruit changes from green to mahogany-brown colour.

If eaten at this stage, it is both sweet and tart. Once the fruit deepens to brown and the flesh becomes tender, the flavour deepens and develops more complexity with a lovely smokey-sweet flavour that's to die for.

In fact, this tomato has even rated above ‘Tommy Toe’ in one of our taste tests. Strong vigorous plants with excellent disease resistance. Yields 7.5kg per plant. Indeterminate.

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Heirloom tomato taste test winners 2024


Black Cherry

Cherry tomato winner

Aptly named for their dark juicy sweet fruit, which resemble cherries, this American heirloom offers a flavour profile like no other.

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Sweet Casady 

Salad tomato winner 

An elongated striped salad tomato with an exceptional flavour profile. This pretty plum has a sweet and spicy aroma.

Coming soon
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Nonna Peppina's

Beefsteak & cooking tomato winner 

 A unique heirloom uncovered through our seed donation program, this wonderful beefsteak has a rich story and  flavour.

Coming soon

Barry's Crazy Cherry 

People's Choice tomato winner

Profuse (really – crazy!) clusters of yellow fruit that change in flavour from tart to sweet as they ripen. Simply delicious..

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Costoluto Genovese

Staff Choice tomato winner 

The oldest tomato in cultivation yet still one of the most popular, this was the winner in the staff beefsteak taste test.

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Green Tiger 

Diggers Award of Excellence 

One of the most requested tomatoes at our tasting with excellent flavour, colour and disease resistance. 

Coming soon
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